Somewhere in the past my life split off into this tangent. The moment it happened I fell into a reality, a life which forever what reasons became my life here in Wonderland otherwise known as Brussels. Life here isn't "normal" (meant in the nicest way), you can't explain it to someone who doesn't live here. You can't define what life is here. There's bad here, but it's usually outweighed ten-fold by the good. The mood of the city can shift from one neighborhood to another. One moment in your in deep solace, in a grey building with a vacant cold-war building and Dutch speaking friends and mindset, the next your in a rainbow building with puckered lip French people listening to vulgar songs and who seem to arrive drunk-on-life and always seem to have food in their hand. (I stereotype of course, which you're free to hate me for.) My American mind wants to make sense out of it all, but after a month you start adhering to the need of compartmentalization and acceptance of the city's cognitive dissonance. There are chameleons who are able to navigate the multi-cultural geography of the Wonderland, and then there are those like myself who feel they've landed in the most interesting place in the world trying to make sense out of it all- but you can't. I walk around with a smile at the chaos, the character, and the beauty of it all. Literally, it's the one of the greatest places on earth to witness the wonders of the human spirit in all its forms. All its expectations, all its hopes, dreams, failures and regrets, all in one place.
I can tell when I pass through De Brouckere (a metro stop) without looking just by the smell (waffles) just as you can feel the trains through the vibrations of your feet, as to their arrival times without use of the overhead status boards.
I know everyday here is an adventure, a marvelous, wonderful, incredible, journey. Nothing is ever the same, and unlike my visits to more "proper" (wealthy) cities like Antwerp, my Brussels Wonderland has a heart, a soul, that I can't describe why I love, but I do.
I may never completely understand this city, but I love every bit of it. Most of all I'm thankful for the fact that the moment I decided to jump into the rabbit hole, was the moment I became grounded at the greatness of it all.